Wyoming Legislative Coverage

Wyoming Public Radio will bring you coverage of the 2020 legislative session. Read and listen to our coverage from the session. You can also follow our coverage on Twitter using the hashtag #wyleg.

The 2020 Budget Session begins February 10th.

Keep updated with this session:

Mr. Satterly via CC0

The Senate Education Committee approved a bill that would set the stage for Gillette College to become an independent community college district.

Wyoming Legislature

The Wyoming House Corporations Committee approved a bill that looks to change the rules around voter identification in the state.

The bill would require voters to show specific identifications such as drivers licenses, state issued and tribal ID cards, passports or military ID or a medicare card, before voting in person.

Wyoming Legislature

Wyoming's House Transportation Committee voted to advance a bill that would increase the state's fuel tax by nine cents.

Photo: 123RF.COM

A Wyoming legislative committee has voted down a tax bill that could have raised over $40 million in the next three years by removing the sales tax exemption on large data centers.

Economic Development professionals and the Mayor of Cheyenne opposed the bill, telling lawmakers that data centers as they are provide more of an economic impact than a sales tax would provide.

Kamila Kudelska

The Wyoming House Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources committee has approved a bill that sets up a specific process if the Wyoming Game and Fish Department considers closing one of its 22 elk feedgrounds. There is no written process on how to close a feedground currently.

Bob Beck


For the last several years the Wyoming Senate, in particular, has been promising to make major cuts to education funding. While there have been reductions, K-12 education has not faced the types of cuts the Department of Health, the University of Wyoming, or other areas of state government has endured. This year there seems to be momentum to make education cuts, but the current proposal may not be constitutional.

MR. Pockets, via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license

In 2020, Governor Mark Gordon asked school districts across Wyoming to start considering what a 10 percent funding cut would look like. And even more recently lawmakers are suggesting cuts around 6.5 percent.

J. E. Stimson / Wyoming State Archives

The Wyoming State Legislature has approved $24 million for water development. Some of that funding will go towards fixing the unsafe LaPrele dam near Douglas.

CCO Public Domain

Members of the Republican legislative leadership say reducing education spending is a priority this session.

During a news conference, House Majority Leader Albert Sommers said he favors a committee bill that would reduce K-12 spending by $100 million while also imposing a tax to pay for future education spending.

WYDOT

After a new study, the Wyoming Department of Transportation has revealed its budget shortfall is much higher than initially thought.

Wyoming Department of Education

Wyoming schools are looking at a big cut and calibration to the state's school funding model this year. Educators are worried about what this means for their students and instruction as lawmakers are considering the next steps.

Wyoming Public Radio's Catherine Wheeler spoke with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow about how this time the cuts will impact education in a big way.

Wyoming Taxpayers Association

Wyoming lawmakers have been in a cutting mode since coal revenues started to decline, but with oil and gas also bringing in less money than usual it's tougher for the state to pay for services. Lawmakers plan to address their budget shortfall by approving a number of cuts to the current state budget when they meet in March.

One solution is to raise taxes, but for many the solution is to reform the tax structure, so that energy does not pay the majority of taxes in the state. Ashley Harpstreith is the Executive Director of the Wyoming Taxpayers Association. She explains why her organization likes this approach.

MAD FISH DIGITAL / CREATIVE COMMONS ATTRIBUTION 2.0 GENERIC

A bill that would make sharing what's known as revenge porn illegal may once again have its shot in front of lawmakers this session.

If passed, House Bill 48 would make the unlawful dissemination of an intimate image a misdemeanor and punishable with up to a $1,000 fine and/or six months of jail time.

Ad valorem taxes contribute to local and state-wide school funds
Pexels

The Wyoming House of Representatives and Senate have agreed on a path forward to solve a problem that has plagued the state for years: ad valorem tax collection.

Stephanie Joyce / Wyoming Public Radio

An effort to educate Wyoming school children on the topic of suicide prevention has been defeated by the Wyoming House of Representatives. Lawmakers defeated House Bill 62 saying that such discussions should take place outside of schools.

Gillette Rep. John Bear who lost his son to suicide, opposed the bill, saying young people need to get hope from the faith community.

Mark Brennan via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

After a lengthy discussion, the Wyoming House of Representatives gave initial approval to a bill that increases the amount of maintenance money state parks can use.

Bob Beck

The Wyoming Legislature is planning a hybrid session in March that will be both remote and in-person after the governor and lawmakers agreed to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to interested legislators and other key players.

Dan Boyce

The Wyoming Senate gave its final approval on Friday to a bill that would change the net metering law in the state.

Bob Beck

The Wyoming Senate voted Friday to cut funding to local governments for the coming year. The reduction is part of the need to address the loss of revenue to the state due to the downturn in the energy industry. The $10.5 million reduction will impact communities differently, but likely will impact things like staffing and services to the public.

Longtime State Sen. Hank Coe has died of cancer. Coe first represented Cody In the State Senate in 1989 and played a big role in issues surrounding economic development, air service and education.

CCO Public Domain

The state Senate Revenue Committee passed two bills that take different approaches to transitioning to a monthly ad valorem tax for the mining industry.

geralt via Pixabay

The Wyoming House Revenue Committee has actually approved a tax bill. Committee members voted to send a 14 cents a pack increase on cigarettes to the House floor. The bill also increases the tax on smokeless tobacco by 12 cents.

pagaling via Pixabay

The state Senate Corporations Committee approved a bill that would reform the net metering system for those who use renewable energy to reduce their electricity rates. The vote comes despite opposition from those saying the change would reduce the incentive to install solar.

Wind Farm Near Wheatland
Holly Copeland

The legislature's Joint Revenue Committee once again considered and voted against a bill that would have raised the generation tax on wind. This time from $1 per megawatt hour to $2 per megawatt hour. The bill would have also removed a three-year tax exemption enjoyed by wind energy producers.

Magellan Healthcare

Following Gov. Mark Gordon's request for an additional $500 million funding cut, the Wyoming Department of Health has come up with a way to shave close to $47 million from its general fund budget.

screen shot by Tennessee Watson

On Monday, Dec. 14, the Joint Appropriations Committee heard Wyoming Department of Family Services' Director Korin Schmidt present her department's plan to cut its budget. This comes after Gov. Mark Gorden announced last month he wanted the state budget reduced by an additional $500 million, following 10 percent cuts in July.

BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT

A state legislative committee is discussing the last stages of approval for a major oil and gas project in Converse County. The U.S. Department of Interior just has to sign the Record of Decision (ROD), which Select Federal Natural Resource Management committee members like Douglas Sen. Brian Boner is anxious to finish or even speed up.

Grendelkhan

About 30 states already have regulatory frameworks set up to safely and efficiently introduce autonomous vehicles into the states. Now, state lawmakers are working to get Wyoming caught up.

Bob Beck

Wyoming legislative leaders say they will delay the bulk of the 2021 legislative session until the state's COVID-19 outbreak is under control.

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Wyoming Legislature

The Campbell County Commissioners have chosen a replacement for the late Roy Edwards. Former Campbell County Commissioner Chris Knapp will take over the term of Rep. Edwards and represent District 53 at the state legislature.

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